pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce process (audio) \

Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : progress, advance in the process of time
b : something going on : proceeding
2a(1) : a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result the process of growth
(2) : a continuing natural or biological activity or function such life processes as breathing
b : a series of actions or operations conducing to an end especially : a continuous operation or treatment especially in manufacture
3a : the whole course of proceedings in a legal action
b : the summons, mandate, or writ used by a court to compel the appearance of the defendant in a legal action or compliance with its orders
4 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


verb (1)
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to proceed against by law : prosecute
b(1) : to take out a summons against
(2) : to serve a summons on
2a : to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development)
b(1) : to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures process insurance claims
(2) : to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated the brain processes visual images relayed from the retina
(3) : to subject to examination or analysis computers process data
c : to work (hair) into a conk



Definition of process (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : treated or made by a special process especially when involving synthesis or artificial modification
2 : made by or used in a mechanical or photomechanical duplicating process
3 : of or involving illusory effects usually introduced during processing of the film


verb (2)
pro·​cess | \ prə-ˈses How to pronounce process (audio) \
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

chiefly British
: to move in a procession

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Synonyms for process

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of process in a Sentence

Noun How does the election process work? Learning a foreign language can be a long process. We're remodeling our house. The whole process is expected to take a few months. Breathing and the circulation of blood are life processes. a bony process on the foot
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, the court said the introduction of the curfew was not an emergency requiring the use of the fast-track process as it had been discussed at length during the coronavirus crisis. Mike Corder, Star Tribune, "Dutch govt appeals court order to scrap coronavirus curfew," 16 Feb. 2021 However, the court said the introduction of the curfew was not an emergency requiring the use of the fast-track process as it had been discussed at length during the coronavirus crisis. Mike Corder, ajc, "Dutch govt appeals court order to scrap coronavirus curfew," 16 Feb. 2021 Dave Powell, senior counsel for the Indiana Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, saidduring the hearing that tests like these typically go through years of process before courts will allow them as evidence. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "Legalizing hemp flower could net big money; police say upholding laws would be impossible," 16 Feb. 2021 But leaving the Senate to try a president on impeachment charges means the outcome of the process will hinge on the political dynamic at play, not the evidence presented at the trial. Dallas News, "Ineffective impeachment process allows Donald Trump to elude accountability for Capitol riot," 15 Feb. 2021 An outline proposal of the selection process is forthcoming, at which point, Turnkey can start to identify some potential candidates. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "It’s still early in the Pac-12 commissioner search, but a decision is expected sooner than later," 13 Feb. 2021 Additionally, embrace mistakes as a key part of the learning process, not as failures. John Alexander, Wired, "If You Can Learn Twitch-Speak, You Can Learn a Language," 12 Feb. 2021 But so was another part of the process: securing the approval to use the device. Kurt Newman, STAT, "It’s time to fast track innovation in medical devices for children," 12 Feb. 2021 In general, though, Kinane says there was a more relaxed tone that helped take some of the fear out of the audition process for many of the singers. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "'American Idol' Was the First Show to React to COVID. Can They Be the First to 'Pivot Back' to Normal?," 12 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bolton is successful due to his instincts and ability to process information in an instant. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 potential linebacker targets for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL draft," 3 Feb. 2021 However, there was no mechanism in place to compensate the farmer for the cost of harvesting and transportation, and food banks had little ability to process and package raw agricultural products. Jayson L. Lusk And Michael D. Boehlje, WSJ, "For Farmers and Consumers, a Crazy Year in Food," 16 Dec. 2020 The United States lacks the ability to quickly process their asylum claims, and releasing them into the countru while their cases are pending could be an incentive for new waves of irregular immigration. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Biden plans to spurn Trump immigration restrictions, but risk of new border crisis looms," 2 Dec. 2020 Zane has great hand-eye coordination, good reaction times, the ability to process information quickly. Mike Digiovanna Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "NASCAR’s Zane Smith knows he’s ‘the baby in the field.’ He doesn’t care," 5 Nov. 2020 The latest technological glitches came after a broken pipe at a ballot processing site caused a delay in Fulton County's ability to process absentee and mail-in ballots on Tuesday night. Megan Henney, Fox News, "Georgia election results delayed by more equipment problems," 4 Nov. 2020 Elias studies ensemble perception—one’s ability to visually process a group of objects from a brief glance—and has applied that to reading emotions. Hahna Yoon, Wired, "Read the (Virtual) Room! How to Improve Your Digital Nunchi," 3 Nov. 2020 Some argued that those changes were politically motivated and would impede the Postal Service's ability to process the record-breaking number of mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Postal Service gave Louis DeJoy's former company $5M contract," 23 Oct. 2020 The outage also did not affect counties' ability to process those hard copy registrations and applications, according to a release from the State Department. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump back at the White House after being discharged from Walter Reed," 5 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This may have positioned several large cities that chose to pre-process ballots to deliver election results earlier than expected. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, "Fact check: Benson's results timeline is not an attempt to steal election from Trump," 4 Nov. 2020 State Democrats and Republicans both agree that local election workers should be allowed to pre-process ballots early. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "'A lot of chaos': Trump's rhetoric, a global pandemic and a tsunami of lawsuits complicate 2020 election," 22 Oct. 2020 The state can’t yet process unemployment claims from independent contractors and the self-employed, even though the federal government has temporarily extended benefits to those workers, St. Louis Public Radio reported. USA TODAY, "Bagpipe-blowing fire chief, Bruce Springsteen-Jon Bon Jovi benefit, chickens go to waste: News from around our 50 states," 15 Apr. 2020 The recent rise of memes seeming to make light of the Wuhan virus or international tensions offers a glimpse into how teenagers learn about and process world events. Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place?," 11 Feb. 2020 Knowing that people process things differently and that's OK. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Unbelievable" Actor Danielle Macdonald on How the Series Puts an Important Focus on Survivors of Trauma," 13 Sep. 2019 The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "5G to AR: Here are 7 technologies to watch in 2018," 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, "When your ex finds someone new," 31 Aug. 2017 Around 80% of people process language on the left, or the analytical, side of the brain, Dr. Pantelyat says, and everyone processes music on both sides of the brain. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "Does Listening to Music Improve Your Focus?," 26 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Previous studies have demonstrated that people can process external cues, such as sounds and smells, while asleep. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "People Answer Scientists’ Queries in Real Time While Dreaming," 18 Feb. 2021 When Bartley, a retired law enforcement investigator, was getting compensated by the Oblates, he was told assistant treasurer Father Rocky Grimard would process payment. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: Archdiocese of San Antonio plans to update its clergy abuse list," 6 Feb. 2021 But our brains only really process information well as a story. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Is Clever Sci-Fi About Internet Trolls," 5 Feb. 2021 The hospital system will process claims for patients with insurance, and people without insurance can apply for coverage under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Here’s how to register with University Hospitals for Phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccine," 14 Jan. 2021 Proteins can also process signals and information, like circadian clock proteins which keep time in our cells, but those are a few main categories of functions that proteins carry out in the cell. Nathan Ahlgren, The Conversation, "What is a protein? A biologist explains," 13 Jan. 2021 And according to royal insiders, Harry is still struggling to process the withdrawal of his titles, as well as the loss of his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Is Struggling to Get Over the Loss of His Military Titles," 12 Jan. 2021 Using an iPad provided by Grubhub, volunteers from within the Girl Scouts headquarters on Clearview Parkway will process orders, and package and prepare them for the Grubhub delivery driver. Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur,, "Girl Scouts launch cookie season with fresh strategies – and a new flavor," 12 Jan. 2021 Stripe, for instance, will no longer process payments made to the Trump campaign through its official website. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "Social media companies are done with Trump. Now what?," 12 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'process.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of process


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for process


Middle English proces, from Anglo-French procés, from Latin processus, from procedere

Verb (2)

back-formation from procession entry 1

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Time Traveler for process

Time Traveler

The first known use of process was in the 14th century

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Statistics for process

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for process



English Language Learners Definition of process

: a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result
: a series of changes that happen naturally
medical : something that sticks out of something else


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō- \

Kids Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of actions, motions, or operations leading to some result the manufacturing process
2 : a series of changes that occur naturally the growth process


processed; processing

Kids Definition of process (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change by a special treatment The fruit is picked and processed for shipment.
2 : to take care of according to a routine His job is to process insurance claims.
3 : to take in and organize for use Computers process data.


pro·​cess | \ ˈpräs-ˌes How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprōs- How to pronounce process (audio) , -əs \

Medical Definition of process

1a : a natural progressively continuing operation or development marked by a series of gradual changes that succeed one another in a relatively fixed way and lead toward a particular result or end the process of growth the process of digestion
b : a natural continuing activity or function such life processes as breathing and the circulation of the blood
2 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process

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pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō- How to pronounce process (audio) \

Legal Definition of process

1 : a continuous operation, art, or method especially in manufacture whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process…may obtain a patent thereforU.S. Code
b : a means (as a summons) used to compel a defendant to appear in court broadly : a means by which a court acquires or exercises jurisdiction over a person or property — see also mesne process — compare notice, service

Note: In civil procedure, service of a summons on a defendant is considered constitutionally sufficient process, although usually a copy of the complaint must also be provided according to the local rule of procedure.

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